Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Salmon Harvests in Alaska Top 4 Million Fish

Wild salmon harvests jumped to 4.1 million fish through June 20, with fishermen delivering 2.7 million sockeyes, more than a million chum, 247,000 humpies and 75,000 kings to processors.

In the western region, the catch at Kodiak rose to almost 2.8 million fish, including nearly two million reds, 419,000 chum, 346,000 pink and 4,000 Chinook salmon.

In the South Alaska Peninsula the catch rose to roughly two million fish, including 1.3 million sockeyes, 361,000 chum, 332,000 pink and 3,000 kings.

Prince William Sound’s catch of 1.3 million salmons includes 701,000 sockeye, 549,000 chum, 15,000 kings and about 1,000 pink. For the Copper River drift district only 378,000 sockeyes have been harvested, along with 13,000 kings and 9,000 chum. State gillnet area management biologist Jeremy Botz, in Cordova, said the sockeyes are continuing to trend consistently below the forecasted run and the commercial harvest is not as good as expected. The king salmon meanwhile has been running above anticipated levels, and both sockeyes and kings appear to be in great condition and larger than average, he said.

Copper River sockeyes are averaging 5.6-5.7 pounds each, while the Chinooks are averaging about 21 pounds, compared to recent year weights of 18 pounds, he said.

The weather in Prince William Sound, where about 225 boats are harvesting, has been pretty decent, Botz said.

Bristol Bay districts opened on June 1 and so far have delivered 193,000 sockeyes, including 182,000 from the Egegik district, 7,000 from the Ugashik, 3,000 from the Naknek-Kvichak and 1,000 from Togiak District. The Bay typically has its peak runs around the Fourth of July holiday period.

Cook Inlet fishermen have brought in 52,000 salmon, including 50,000 red and 2,000 Chinook. Of that total 29,000 reds came from Lower Cook Inlet and 21,000 from Upper Cook Inlet, and the kings from the northern district of Cook Inlet, which opened on May 29.

Also open now is the chum salmon run on the Lower Yukon River, an area where the chum are known for their particularly high oil content. That harvest has already reached 51,000 fish.

In the Southeast region, the total shows 82,000 fish, mostly king salmon.Most of the kings, 44,000 out of a total of 56,000 kings, are however from the winter troll fishery that opened in October.

The preliminary harvest figures are produced on a daily basis by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and appear on the online Blue Sheet report available at

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